34-year-old Kohli has been in sensational form in white-ball cricket lately. He has broken his century drought in ODIs and even smashed a hundred in a T20I last year. However, his woes in white-ball cricket continue. He hasn’t scored a ton in red-ball cricket since November 2019. His last Test hundred came against Bangladesh in the Day-Night Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Speaking to Thomson on Backstage with Boria show, the Aussie legend said about the much-awaited battle of Australia’s batters against Kohli, “It is no different to anyone else. If you are bowling to Virat, it’s the same as anybody else. You try to tie him down, and make him uncomfortable. Don’t let him score runs as it is difficult to keep him quiet as he has a such wide range of shots.
“Make him take more risks. Get him out of his comfort zone, is easier said than done. Good bowlers will be able to do so more often. That’s how you bowl to great batters like Viv Richards, Greg Chappell, and Sunny Gavaskar,” he added.
According to Thomson, Australia cannot back off in the mental battle against Kohli. The 72-year-old elaborated, “The one who breaks first loses out. You got to be stronger mentally than him to get success. Good players – both batters and bowlers work that out. They got to have a Plan B or C and see what happens. Some days it doesn’t work but if you know you tried your best and did not bowl too many garbage and make him score easy runs, that’s what you can do.”
During the discussion, Thomson also opened up about Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who has been out of action for the last few months due to injuries. According to the former pacer, “Bumrah has to prioritise what formats he wants to play. Thomson commented:
“Bumrah has to prioritise what formats, whether he wants to play white ball cricket or test cricket or both. If I was playing now, it would have been very hard to play Test matches because you get so much money in the short version of the game.
“We didn’t have to think about money in our days because there was no money. Now it’s a huge business. You got to work out how long I am going to play for. I think you have to be more cunning in terms of workload and what you got to play. If you are good enough, you will be picked.”
Bumrah last turned out for India during the T20I series at home again against Australia in September 2022. He missed the T20 World Cup due to a stress fracture. His availability for the Test series against Australia is in doubt.
India will take on the Aussies in a four-match Border-Gavaskar Test series, which begins on February 9 in Nagpur. The series is hugely significant keeping their qualification for World Test Championship (WTC) final in mind.
--By A Cricket Correspondent